Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Tweet Me Maybe: Social Networking and Graduates

Huffington Post published a blog on Monday about the use of social networking and job hunting, right as I had the idea for this post. It argues how social media can actually benefit your job search, given how employers seek out extra information on their potential employees. Employers are seeking the social networking profiles to give them even a basic idea of who they are hiring, and more graduates are failing to recognise that what got them into the 'LAD' culture of university, will only hurt their chances of being chosen over another stand out candidate.

Social networking users are no longer able to see their online identity counterparts as an outlet for ideological or emotional rants, but another self indulgent and socially damaging tool that can keep them out of employment. Social networking now requires job seekers to wear their best interview face, and be 'on', twenty four hours a day.

People are looking for something to use against you, a reason to hire you or a reason not to. I have a friend who recently landed an internship with a university, during the recruitment process they openly admitted to seeking out her Facebook profile and informed her that she was a 'lot tamer' than other candidates. The friend will remain unnamed, but the point stands that other candidates were unaware that their online actions would affect their employment prospects. Those pictures of you throwing up in your shoes on Wind Street don't seem like such a genius idea now, do they? We're all guilty of chronicling our student life on Facebook,  so adjust your privacy settings or you could risk influencing an employer's decision with your private details. 

On my Twitter or Facebook accounts, you may come across pictures of bright pink cupcakes. Or the occasional batch of Snickerdoodles. Assumptions can be based off this, either I'm a crazy bored 22 year old who isn't living the high life of a 22 year old, or I'll be the employee that gives you a muffin/biscuit/insert-baked-good-of-your-choice basket on your birthday. Some will take it and some will leave it, but they will make a judgement on it- whether your time is consumed with baking, playing FIFA 12, or reading Fifty Shades of Grey (although, who wouldn't judge you for that?).

I got my Facebook account when I was 16, the idea of an employer judging my employability based on a 16 year old's hormonal and often juvenile ranting does leave me absolutely mortified. However, the only things viewable on my Facebook publicly include my cover photo and my degree result, my Facebook is just that- mine. Having two Twitter accounts is also advisable, to separate your personal and professional identities, you can then still enjoy the benefits of internet banter with your friends without creating a particular image. Reap the benefits of LinkedIn, which holds no emotional past and only recognises your professional skills and experience. Most graduates have learnt that the internet is now the most viable tool in connecting with prospective employers or influential contacts. Most employers seek out candidates who can present themselves with dignity and restriction, to fit in with the reputations of their companies, and it goes without saying that what you print in black and white can never be retracted- so spend more time on your LinkedIn profile than on Facebook Chat.

What you share with your friends is now what you share with the rest of the online world. Unfortunately, inside jokes are no longer just meant for those on the inside. Speculation can be made upon your photos, comments, and location check ins. So no strip clubs, okay?

Lets go over the basics, one last time:

1. No frisky pictures. I mean really, do we have to go over this one? I can't believe people still do this, amateurs.

2. Too many dog/cat/Disney character pictures or posts (Guilty as charged) Kind of looks anti social, like we have no friends, or like we are still actually five years old.

3. Tweet rage. This is the one we all fall into and I have a few guilty Tweeters on my list. This includes you, former housemates. Tweet it, delete it.

4. Bitching about your current or previous boss. Rookie mistake, kids.

5. Bitching about anyone. We all do it, raise your hand- first step in overcoming a problem is admitting there is one.

So dear graduates, the future is ours- but privacy certainly isn't.

The Independent has a post on protecting your online privacy here.

Side note: if anyone argues with me and tries to sell Fifty Shades of Grey as a piece of miraculous  and revolutionary literature I will actually open the biggest can of verbal whoop ass on you. Each to their own, but please spare my Twitter feed of your nightly love affair with Christian Grey. Employers, recognise my love for actual books, but don't judge me on my tequila love.

Oh and I suppose you can follow me, or check out my LinkedIn. If you're that way inclined.

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